JAMMU and Kashmir unit of the BJP has slapped with a show-cause notice its leader Vikram Randhawa for making disrespectful remarks against the Valley’s Muslims. In a video that went viral on social media, Randhawa can be heard calling for snatching off the educational degrees and the citizenship of the Kashmiri Muslim youth for celebrating the victory of Pakistan over India in the ongoing T20 World Cup in the United Arab Emirates. He also called for beating the Muslims. Later, the video was tweeted by the PDP leader Naeem Akhtar and subsequently by the party’s president and the former J&K Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti. She lamented that “no action” has been taken against the leader while the Kashmiri students were charged with sedition for merely cheering the winning team.
However, in a welcome move, the BJP has acted against its own leader. J&K BJP president Ravinder Raina has made it clear that “such a language cannot be tolerated.” He said Randhawa’s language was “unacceptable to the party” and had “brought disrepute and embarrassment to the party.”
Considering the prevailing state of affairs in the country, it didn’t appear likely that the BJP would take action against its own leader for using vile language against a particular community. But the J&K BJP has done it, holding its own leader accountable. This is the way to go. If the parties strictly enforce a code of conduct within their ranks and discourage hate speech, this will go a long way to usher in healthy public discourse. And being the ruling party in the country, the BJP can become a role model for more responsible public conduct.
But it is also true that in recent years the public discourse in India has coarsened. The television anchors have been singularly responsible for this. They work themselves into a frothing rage and frequently rally public opinion against a particular community, sometimes even against Kashmiris. They have often been joined by sporting and film celebrities, underlining just how normal it has become to demonize people and communities. The channels also simplify the fiendishly complex issue of Kashmir. The result has been an abetment to revenge in Kashmir than a search for a solution to the deepening crisis in the former state. It is time to dial back this hateful discourse. And if the parties and the politicians take a lead in this, it would automatically rub off on the media and the larger population. J&K BJP has set an example for others to follow.
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